By the time it gets to the postseason, the Worthington Christian High School boys basketball team doesn't expect to resemble what took the floor for its opener Dec. 3 at Whitehall.
The Warriors plan to be healthier and deeper when it's time to compete for what would be a third consecutive Division III district title.
"Once we get into January and get a full complement of players, we could be a dangerous team," said coach Kevin Weakley, who entered his 14th season with a 219-99 record.
Senior guard Sam Condon (5-foot-10) is in his third season as a key player but won't return until later this month because of an injury.
An ankle injury and illness kept junior center Johnny Wordlaw (6-4) out most of the preseason, but he should be a key player when healthy.
Other returnees are senior Seth Weygandt (6-4, forward), juniors J.J. Phillips (5-10, guard) and John Routzahn (6-3, guard) and sophomore Brian Fields (6-3, forward).
Junior Marshawn Edwards (5-10, guard) will join the team in late December. Sophomores Dominik Holsten (6-4, forward) and Cameron Lawrence (6-0, guard) will miss the first 11 games after transferring from Big Walnut and Columbus Academy, respectively.
Seniors Kyle Nowak (6-2, center) and Jarrett Malone (5-9, guard) and freshman Jayden Tucker (6-0, guard) are others looking to contribute.
Worthington Christian, which lost to Versailles 63-48 in a regional semifinal to finish 17-9 a year ago, has joined Bexley, Columbus Academy, Grandview, London, Madison Plains, West Jefferson and Whitehall in the MSL-Ohio Division.
New girls basketball coaches excited
The girls basketball team isn't planning to let low numbers keep it from utilizing the fast break this winter.
The Warriors have 14 players in the program, with eight expected to be on varsity, after they went 18-6 and reached the third round of the Division IV district tournament a year ago.
"We're a fast-paced team and our athleticism is going to be big," said Tammi Evans, who is co-coaching the team with John Rettstatt. "We're just excited to get the girls out there."
The Warriors opened Nov. 23 by beating Canal Winchester 56-53 and followed with wins over Fairbanks (63-50 on Nov. 26) and London (55-20 on Nov. 30).
Junior Shirley Rettstatt (5-6, guard) had 20 points and senior Ali Spayde (5-9, point guard) scored 16 to lead Worthington Christian in its opener.
Also on the team are senior Janelle Wilcox (5-9, forward), juniors Natalee Cole (5-11, post player), Devon Jones (5-7, guard), Kathryn Ryan (5-9, forward) and Lauren Weygandt (5-6, guard) and freshman Bridgette Rettstatt (6-0, forward).
Bridgette Rettstatt is the coach's daughter and a cousin of Shirley Rettstatt.
Evans, who helped New Washington Buckeye Central win a state title in 1985 and went on to play for Capital University, has four children who attend Worthington Christian.
Evans and John Rettstatt replaced Adam Heath, who led the Warriors to a 49-21 record in three seasons.
Knapper, Watterson back for swim teams
The swimming and diving program has five athletes, including a sophomore in Becca Knapper who made it to the Division II state meet in two events a year ago.
Knapper is joined in the girls program by sophomore Shannon LaMonte.
Competing for the boys team are senior Matt Watterson, junior Kameron Early and sophomore Grant Lawrence.
At state last season, Knapper was 22nd in the 200-yard freestyle and 13th in the 500 free.
In the boys district meet a year ago, Watterson was sixth in the 100 butterfly and Early was 16th in the 50 free and the 100 backstroke.
"Becca had a great summer and is right on stride," 13th-year coach Jim Peterfish said.
Smith again should lead bowling team
The boys bowling team has four athletes back, including a three-time district qualifier in senior Ben Smith.
Also returning are senior Trenton Butterworth and sophomores Josh Krebs and Kaitlyn Hamilton. Juniors Ryan Cannell and Sean Pierce and sophomore Noah Cardosi are others in the program.
With the OHSAA's expansion to two divisions, Worthington Christian will compete in Division II.
The Warriors were 10th (3,335) at sectional last season as the top nine teams advanced. Smith took fifth (589) to advance to district, where he placed 18th (581).
"What's great is that they separated into two divisions this year," first-year coach Dave Krebs said. "I expect us to do well in (Division II). I expect Ben to make it to state this year and as a team we're hoping to make it to district."